Pasta with Cabbage and Smoked Prosciutto (Penne Verza e Speck)


This is food blogging how I like it best. Today I came home from work, cooked dinner while taking photos, less than half an hour later we enjoyed a simple but delicious and healthy meal, and another half an hour later the post is on the blog! The idea for this pasta came from a dish we had at Laite during our recent trip to Italy. I haven’t made fresh pasta from ground black rice, but I have used the flavor combination for the sauce of speck (smoked prosciutto from Südtirol), cabbage and cumin. This combination is delicious. So here is yet another delicious pasta dish that you can prepare when you come home from work, too!



For 2 servings

150 grams (.33 lb) penne or other short pasta

300 grams (.66 lb) savoy cabbage, ribs discarded and chopped

100 grams (3.5 oz) Südtiroler speck (or other smoked prosciutto)

1 tsp cumin seeds

80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

30 grams (1 oz) freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, plus more for serving

salt and freshly ground black pepper



Bring a pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds and stir for 30 seconds or so.


Add 300 grams (.66 lb) chopped cabbage. Remember to remove the tough ribs first (so you will need more than 300 grams cabbage to begin with). Season very lightly with salt.


Stir-fry the cabbage for a couple of minutes until the cabbage is covered with a thin layer of oil and starts to wilt.


Add 80 ml (1/3 cup) of dry white wine and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the cabbage for about 10 minutes, stirring now and then.


When the water boils, add 150 grams (.33 lb) pasta and salt. Set the timer for the time indicated on the package for al dente.


After 10 minutes the cabbage should look like this.


Add 100 grams (3.5 oz) of speck, cut into strips.


Add about 80 ml (1/3 cup) of pasta cooking water, and stir.


Drain the pasta when the timer beeps, reserving some of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the cabbage and speck with 30 grams (1 oz) of freshly grated parmigiano.


Toss to mix, adding a bit of the reserved cooking water if it is too dry. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper. As the cooking water and the speck contain salt, you may not need to add any salt at all.


Serve at once on preheated plates, and enjoy.



Chocolate mousse is a famous French dessert that is quite easy to make and oh so delicious.


15 thoughts on “Pasta with Cabbage and Smoked Prosciutto (Penne Verza e Speck)

  1. Could not resist ‘popping in’ to say you have taught me something again. ‘Speck’ – as a Northern European gal of course I know it – but Wikipedia tells me I know but German speck which the Italians supposedly call ‘lardo’! Yours has much less fat and is probably air-dried and indeed much more healthy 🙂 ! Dish looks moreish . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tiroler Speck is not really prosciutto (i.e. from the leg) and it could in fact be from the same area of the pig as lardo, but it is as lean as prosciutto and that is why I described it that way. It is cured, smoked and then aged.


  2. This is wonderful. I love all cabbages, and have tried using Brussels sprouts in both Italian-inspired and Asian dishes, both times with huge success. We would love this in my household; so simple, healthful, and packed with flavor.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My attempt was also with regular prosciutto – but the dish came together well and was very tasty.

    I think I lacked some skill in the timing department – maybe with practice I can get it to 30 minutes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure is a matter of practice, and of being hungry and wanting to eat quickly 😉 This recipe does require a bit of prepping that can take more than half an hour if you don’t work very quickly.


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